Job vacancies: record highs or figures falling?

What does the number of job vacancies tell us about the state of the employment market? Well, the answer could depend on your chosen source…

Two different news items published only a day apart suggest that:

a) Advertised job vacancies are falling and reflect a ‘cooling off’ period 

Source: Recruiting Times & Adzuna

Adzuna has been recording its own data since 2012. However, it will not have access to the same quantity of data as our next source.

That said, it’s still of national interest as it considers the UK as a whole. Perhaps most interestingly, these findings also report on competition levels; stating that application numbers have fallen to an all-time low since Adzuna’s records began 6 years ago.

b)  Job vacancies have reached a record high since 2001

Source: HR Review & the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Conversely, the ONS reports that job vacancy numbers have reached the highest level recorded in 17 years. Although these figures are taken from the August to October 2018 period; Adzuna’s refer to the ‘latest data’ which may well be exploring the past month.

This report also reflects a talent shortage, stating that ’employers across many sectors are continuing to experience fundamental challenges in finding the staff and skills that they need.’

What the REC has to say on this topic…

As you may well know, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation also conducts regular research.

Their latest press release explored October’s figures and found:

  • Staff appointment numbers rose at their fastest rate last month.
  • Job vacancies ‘expanded at the softest pace’ for almost two years in October, yet staff demand was ‘historically sharp’.
  • Overall candidate availability fell at its steepest rate in nine months.

Considering all these findings, it appears that there is greater consensus across the sources than it might have appeared at first glance.

Certainly, each agrees that businesses are facing skills shortages, with HR Review reporting that “employers can expect to face continued recruitment and retention pressures and need to prioritise workforce planning.”

Looking to overcome the skills shortage?

Millennials choose SME employers

Why do millennials choose SME employers over their larger counterparts? Exploring the latest stats and what these mean for Bath…

Almost half (47%) of millennials say SME businesses represent their ideal employer size. Conversely, just 19% favour a larger employer, according to research shared by HR Review.

What is an SME business?

‘SME’ stands for Small to Medium Enterprises – with such businesses employing anywhere from 1 to 249 staff members.

‘Millennials’ (also known as ‘Generation Y’) commonly refers to anyone born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s.

So, what’s the attraction of an SME?

The research explores both respondents’ working values and expectations in relation to businesses of different sizes. The findings show:

  • Flexible working hours is the most desired working benefit among millennials. Furthermore, it’s one that 43% believe to be a characteristic of SMEs.
  • This was followed by career progression, higher salaries, and friendlier working cultures. Again, each of these being benefits perceived more likely within an SME.

You can find the full stats on HR Review.

What does this mean for Bath?

As discussed in our Career Change special, SME business dominates the South-West. The 2016 ONS stats say 103,370 companies employed 0-4 people. Clearly, vastly more than the region’s 505 employing more than 250 last year.

Once again, we must consider the meaning of such stats. This research is based on people’s values and perceptions, rather than employers’ specific offerings. Not all SME businesses are in the position to provide each of the most desired benefits, after all.

Yet this doesn’t mean that these results are not of value to local job-seekers or employers…

  • As an employer: you’re receiving an insight into (some of!) a generation’s core values. This becomes valuable when tailoring an attractive and competitive recruitment offering – something we can help you achieve.
  • As a job-seeker: firstly you can feel confident that there are many SME opportunities throughout the region. Visit our latest jobs listings for more. Yet it’s also a great reminder to consider your working values. What do you most need from your next role; what will allow you to truly commit to a permanent position? Your Recruitment Consultant will be able to advise on what is most realistic at this time and any recruiting clients you are most suited to.

For further advice on your recruitment plans, please call the office on 01225 313130.